In recent interviews, acclaimed author James Patterson has announced that he will be donating $1 million to independent bookstores throughout the next year. Patterson’s desire to support independent booksellers stems from his aspiration to increase nationwide literacy, with a particular focus on getting children excited about reading. Increasing childhood literacy is something that personally resonates with the author, who spent years trying to get his young son to enjoy reading, knowing that it would impact the quality of his life as he grew older.
This isn’t the first time Patterson has supported literature-based organizations by donating funds out of his own pocket, and it certainly won’t be the last. According to Melanie Grayce West for the Washington Post, the author “is serious about getting kids to read and he’s made it a cornerstone of his philanthropy.” Patterson, who can now add children’s literature to his list of mastered genres, is a book-centric activist who wants others to recognize that the importance of literacy rivals other pressing issues that face children today.
In addition to his promise of donating $1 million to independent bookstores around the country, Patterson hopes to spark an entire campaign that will promote literacy for children. Over the years, the author has been active in this cause by starting academic scholarships and donating millions of dollars to programs that promote education and reading. This year alone Patterson has awarded $1.5 million in scholarships to students earning teaching degrees, the Washington Post reports. He also regularly funds book stipends, and hosts essay competitions that have awarded aspiring teachers and students thousands of dollars. The author pays for all of these programs out-of-pocket.
“For a lot of kids in this country, if they don’t become competent readers, they are going to find it impossible to get through high school,” Patterson has said. Donating funds to independent bookshops is his newest strategy to support and promote nationwide literacy. It’s philanthropists like Patterson who are helping to better the lives of children, which for the author, stems from encouraging a love of reading.